Mountain Area Information Network

Bowen to discuss media reform
Oct. 9 at Appalachian State

Oct. 1, 2007Contact: Duncan Cavanaugh:

"A Progressive Response to an Undemocratic Media" is the title of 7:30 p.m. talk Tuesday, Oct. 9 at Appalachian State University by Wally Bowen, founder and executive director of the Asheville-based nonprofit Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN).

The talk will be held in ASU's I.G. Greer Hall Auditorium and is free and open to the public. Sponsors include the ASU Political Science Department, Freshman Learning Communities, and Democracy Now of the N.C. High Country.

A journalist and media literacy educator, Bowen is also founder of Citizens for Media Literacy, an Asheville-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting citizenship via critical thinking about -- and citizen access to -- the media environment. He has spoken at the Aspen Institute, Harvard University's Graduate School of Education, and all three National Conferences on Media Reform.

Bowen will discuss how a commercial media system, concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, is failing to serve the democratic goal of an "informed citizenry" envisioned by the nation's founders.

"The commercial media system limits our national dialogue by chopping up the world into sound-bites and sensational images," Bowen said.

"To add insult to injury, this system then forces our political candidates to pay astronomical sums of money to buy access to the public airwaves that, theoretically, belong to the American people. This system is deeply dysfunctional, undemocratic, and ripe for reform," he said.

Bowen will trace the historical roots of the U.S. media system and outline an agenda for media reform being pushed by a bipartisan coalition of organizations and political leaders, including U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Trent Lott (R-MS) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

The talk will include an update on net neutrality, the possible re-allocation of the public airwaves, and threats to public, education and government access TV channels.

Founded in 1995, MAIN operates on a simple principle: give citizens, local businesses and nonprofits the option of spending their Internet dollars to support independent media.

MAIN is one of the nation's oldest nonprofit Internet service providers. Its services include nationwide Internet access and webhosting via

MAIN includes the low-power FM radio station, WPVM-103.5 FM, the Progressive Voice of the Mountains, plus an online news portal at MAIN also led the effort to create the first public access TV operation in the mountains of North Carolina, the Asheville-based URTV. MAIN is now developing cross-platform delivery (web, broadcast, cable) of citizen journalism.

For more information, call MAIN at 1-828-255-0182 or contact Duncan Cavanaugh at END